Essex County lawmakers, NY21 candidates sound off on the issues facing their communities

Tom Scozzafava, the Moriah town supervisor, cited an attentiveness to constituent services; Minerva's Stephen McNally, utilities relief, and Bill Grinnell, the Ticonderoga supervisor, said he hoped for a lessening in government regulation:

“The government as a whole has become such a regulatory nightmare,” he said, citing an alphabet soup of agencies — FEMA, OSHA, EPA — and how they often contradict each other and cancel each other out.

Shaun Gillilland, the Willsboro supervisor who is also a cattle farmer, agreed.

“Over-regulation hampers growth and scares away talent,” he said. “Within the industry of agriculture, we’re trying to get new people into producing food. If anything is more critical to national security, it’s the ability to feed the population successfully.”

Gillilland said the average age of farmers in the United States is 57. Three-quarters of them, he said, do not farm exclusively and need to generate other sources of revenue to pad their income.

“On top of that, now you have the federal government coming in and trying to overregulate the culture of food. You’ve got the FDA coming in and limiting and regulating, and more recently, the overreach of the EPA.”

While the Clean Water Act is “a great thing,” Gillilland said the law was passed by Congress to only include navigable waters.

“But now they’ve decided to widen the interpretation to include adjacent waters to navigable waters,” he said, explaining this opens up innocuous waterways like drainage ditches and ponds, for example, to regulation.

Gillilland said this slams the door on opportunities and discourages young upstarts.

“There are mountains and mountains of administrative paperwork to just obey the regulations.”

He cited another issue that has had lawmakers fuming this year:

“The federal issues most affecting the town that comes to mind almost immediately has to do with the oil trains,” he said, referring to the increase of crude oil moving through the region from the fields in North Dakota to downstate refineries.

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